Sarah Sophrona 8 BIGELOW

15198.184    Sarah Sophrona 8 BIGELOW, dau of Levi H. 7 ( Abel 6 , Josiah 5 , Jotham 4, John 3, Samuel 2, John 1) and Susan Mary (CAPEN) BIGELOW, was born at Conway township, Livingston, MI on 02 January 1846 and married 11 April 1867 Samuel Spencer Tower. The marriage was in Livingston county, MI and performed by 0. W. Olds, minister. Samuel was born circa 1841 and served as Captain in the Civil War: Co. A, 10th MI Inf. She died on 02 February 1880.

Children of Samuel and Sarah (Bigelow) Tower:

15198.1841   Ellen May Tower, b 08 May 1868; d 09 Dec 1898 (07 Jan 1899?) Puerto Rico; unm. - an Army nurse. (see below)

15198.1842   Minnie Tower, b 1870; m Frank Lamoreaux; res. Pasadena, CA.

15198.1843   Sabra S. Tower, b 30 July 1871; m 11 Jan 1893 Frank J. Newman, b 23 April 1868, d 04 Sept 1925; res. Saginaw; 4 children.

15198,1844   Lura Bigelow Tower, b 24 Nov 1872; m (1) 25 Dec 1895 Albert E. Maynard, (2)10 Feb 1920 Thor Schreiber; 2 children.

Bigelow Family Genealogy Vol II , p 336-337;
Howe, Bigelow Family of America;  page 311 child;
Correspondence with descendant by Bigelow Society historian/genealogist. (see below) 

Ellen May Tower

     Not far from the front entrance to the Byron Cemetery a monument marks the grave of Ellen May Tower, famed Spanish-American war nurse.
Miss Tower was the daughter of Captain Samuel S. Tower, a veteran of the Civil War and for sometime the village blacksmith and
Mrs. Sarah (Bigelow) Tower.
     Ellen May Tower was born (May 8, 1868) and educated in Byron and soon after her graduation from the 10th grade entered the office of Doctor
Whealock of Bancroft. For a time she taught school in the Bancroft area, then left to enter nurses’ training at Grace Hospital in Detroit.
Doctor Sterling of Grace Hospital presented her with her diploma on January 17, 1894 and five years to the very day, he spoke at her funeral in the
Opera House at Byron.
     When the United States declared war on Spain in 1898 she volunteered for service as a war nurse. Her service began at Point Montauk and during that time it was her good fortune to meet Dennis Donohue, a Detroit newspaperman and Hazen Pingree Jr., son of the Michigan Governor. These men greatly admired the cheerful service she was giving to the sick and wounded men. They understood the uncertainties of war and promised the girl that if anything happened to her she would be brought back to Byron and her friends. She went East and then to Puerto Rico. It was there that Ellen May fell ill contracting the dreaded typhoid fever. Constant work day and night had greatly weakened her resistance. As she had been the first to volunteer for service, she was the first of the five nurses to be stricken. Her father was notified on December 9, 1898 of her death. More than a month later the body of the 28 year old nurse was brought back to Byron. Donohue and Pingree had kept their promise.
A military funeral had been arranged – the third time in history that such a rite had been performed for a woman and the only woman in Michigan to be so honored.


Rod Bigelow
Box 13  Chazy Lake
Dannemora, N.Y. 12929